Watchmen Silk Spectre
Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Awhile back I reviewed the first release from Hot Toys in their Watchmen series, Silk Spectre. Tonight, Jeff Parker is jumping in with his review of the lovely lady as well - take it away, Jeff!

Back in 1987 I bought my first edition of WATCHMEN… and by that I mean it was in its first collected edition. I’d heard about it, read about it, but then I finally owned it.

I can honestly say it didn’t blow me away on my first reading. But I liked it a lot, and after years of reading comics I was intrigued by its complex story, it’s skewed history and themes of duty and identity, but mostly I liked how it just told me a super hero story in a way that understood that I as a reader had grown up reading superhero comics. It understood that I had already taken that leap of faith, and the story just jumped in, all guns blazing.

But it also told us about their everyday lives with more ‘adult’ themes, these were ‘hero’ characters that were shown to be morally ambiguous in a way that hadn’t been tackled before. All of a sudden being a super hero didn’t save you from the mundane, being unpopular, impotent, misunderstood or lonely.

The story didn’t patronise by ‘over explaining’ what was happening, it was in that respect a bold new direction for comics to take… and for me as a 19 year old it was something of a revelation.

But the thing about WATCHMEN is that like other great literature you find yourself going back to it time and time again. So like The Catcher In The Rye, To Kill A Mocking Bird or Frankenstein you find yourself discovering new dimensions within its basic premise, as you get older.

That’s not to say that I don’t think it’s become a little too grand for it’s own good. It’s now held up as ‘the’ beacon of the graphic novel genre, and quite frankly it’s good… but I still think Moore's work on V for Vendetta holds more of a lasting resonance about the times we live in. Which brings us nicely onto Alan Moore’s works being translated into Hollywood movies… and unless you’ve been living under a rock you will know that he doesn’t like his work being tampered with… at all!

It’s understandable, after all his work has been treated badly by filmmakers in the past, most notably the virtually unwatchable… no, sorry I mean unwatchable League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Though I have to say, for me V for Vendetta was actually a pretty good interpretation of the source material, making for a very good movie, (OK, Natalie Portman was woefully miss-cast, but the over all package still worked well).

And so we finally get on to the movie version of WATCHMEN, a movie that was always going to be over scrutinised by the fan base and mostly misunderstood by the average cinema going public. And it proved to be both!

I spoke to my cousin after he had seen it (he hadn’t read the novel), he’s a smart guy, but he totally didn’t get it. He was expecting a Batman or Spiderman type of superhero movie, but what he got was an angst ridden tale of alienation and retribution. Likewise many of my ‘on line ‘ friends and acquaintances who were fans of the book found themselves disappointed with aspects of the characterisation, and the interpretation of elements of the story.

Well, for the record I wasn’t, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. I’m not too precious about the book, never have been, so I think Zack Snyder did an admirable job of translating the difficult source material to the screen. I still don’t own the movie on DVD as I’m patiently waiting for the fabled directors cut, extended, all singing and dancing version with Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood included, to finally become available in the UK (Edit…I just bought the standard 2-disk edition). So for now I’m still relying on the memory of my solitary theatre experience, and for me it’s still mostly a fond memory.

But lets stop pontificating, we are here to talk toys, and Hot Toys chose to hit us with Silk Spectre II as the first release from the movie, and they will be following up with a figure of the Comedian.

To some these might seem like strange choices, after all the Comedian doesn’t have one single redeemable feature, he is the original, narcissistic nasty bastard… I despised him in the comic and I despised him in the movie… but yeah, you guessed I was meant to, so like all the best ‘bad’ guys I just have to have the figure for my collection.

Likewise the character of Silk Spectre II is seldom going to find her self on a list of WATCHMEN fans most popular characters. But with her new sexy costume for the movie, and a great sculpt of the ‘lets face it’ quite stunning Malin Akerman by Lee So Young what’s not to like.

In the comic she wore an alluring semi-transparent chiffon shift dress over a leather/PVC swimsuit with a plunging neckline. But for the movie she has a far more ‘updated’ S&M, ultra skin-tight PVC corset over a zip fronted skin-tight body suit. Couple this with PVC opera gloves and stiletto heeled PVC thigh boots that attach to her corset with suspenders… then hubba, hubba, hubba… we’re in 1/6th fanboy heaven!

Packaging - ****
Once upon a time you always knew what you were getting with the Movie Masterpiece Series (MMS) of figures from Hot Toys. It would be a metallic sleeve over a 5-panel flap fronted box, but things have changed a lot.

As the company has grown, so has it’s design ethos towards it’s packaging. It seems we as the customer are all comfortable enough with the brand to let them experiment more.

And so recently each new movie license has been getting it’s own distinct look to it’s packaging, and that trend continues with WATCHMEN.

What we have is a primarily black and white outer slipcase with bright yellow accents. The front has a large publicity photo of Akerman in character with a bright yellow band that wraps around the whole box horizontally. Out of this band is the movie title in stark black.

The back has a monotone image of the figure in the extra trench coat that’s included as an accessory; this is next to a full figure shot as a full colour image. This outer packaging slides off to the side to expose the inner box which has a large windowed front. This again utilises the high-contrast black and yellow colour way. The back has a full list of production credits and a rather fetching full figure image of Silk, which really shows off just how tight this outfit was… and just how perky she looked in it.
Open the inner box and slide out the main tray and card-backing panel, as this panel has a smaller tray housing the extra coat accessory attached to it. Just razor the circular tape-stickers on the back, and this opens by simply sliding the tabs out. Silk lays in the large transparent tray with two fitted lids, parts of the costume and her hair are also protected by Polly-bags and strips that need to be removed.

Sculpting - ****
Malin Akerman is more famous for being a blonde, but to me at least, she looks far better as a brunette… but there again I’ve always preferred brunettes… unless there’s a redhead in the room. She’s a beautiful woman with strong features and Lee So Young has done a fine job of capturing her look. Her expression here is the determined side of neutral, eyes straight forward with her lips slightly open. The nose is beautifully observed, as are her two beauty spots, there is one next to her right eye (which was make-up applied to fit how the character was drawn) and the other raised one, on her left cheek, which the actress actually sports. It’s a great piece of work, however as is oft the case it looks better from some angles than others, but luckily it looks very good from most. I’m also getting a little Liz Hurley coming through on this sculpt, and a smidgen of a young Amanda Donahoe, but mostly Akerman.

She comes with rooted hair in a very slick, straight style with a severe fringe, and I think this is without a doubt the most successful figure with rooted hair I have seen so far. It hangs pretty convincingly and stays in place well. Also where the back part of the head joins the front, just behind the ear, it’s virtually seamless, unlike on the Silk Spectre figure, this was also the case on the two new female True Types, all of which had rooted hair, but had a slightly raised seam at this join. So I’m very pleased with Lee So Young’s work here, I don’t think we’ve had a sculpt from her before, so I shall definitely look forward to seeing more in the future.

Edit, I just found out she also did the new Blade II sculpt, so she’s already proved her mettle.

Paint - ****
When JC paints women he seems to live by the doctrine that less is more. But lets face it when you are working on a rough, unshaven, grubby action hero, then there is a big scope to show off your talents. But when you have to rein those flamboyant excesses in, when understated subtlety is the order of the day… well, that’s what sorts the men from the boys.

So for Silk here, a lady with a flawless complexion, JC has kept his palette warm and gentle. There’s beautifully even work on the cheeks and chin with the lips picked out in a light salmon pink, edged in a slightly deeper hue to give more definition. These lighter tones help show off and enhance the details sculpted into the lips, even showing the tiny wrinkles and lines, and the recess for the interior of the mouth, where it is painted darker to help give extra emphasis to the depth. The eyes and eyebrows are painted as well as ever, showing great detail work on the iris and pupils, even picking out the pink line between the ivory eyeball and the exquisitely delicate eyelashes. Just another case of perfection, as we have come to expect from JC’s work!

Articulation - ***
I recently managed to get hold of the two new female True Types as well, so they gave me a good idea of what’s going on under the suit by checking them out. They have a great range of mobility, and if I was purely rating this on the effectiveness of the base body it would be close to a full score, the only area that does seem to need a little revision are the ankles. They can turn and rock back and fourth, but they lack a side to side rocking movement, which would have been handy for Silk in those fetish boots.

So the restrictiveness here is a by-product of shoehorning that pneumatic body into that ‘oh so tight’ outfit.

The base figure doesn’t have double knees, but the boots are so tight they can only achieve about a 70 degree bend anyway. The rest of the body is as good as the classic female True Type always is, so there’s bags of good solid articulation, no loose joints and that funky articulated mid section in the torso (which is kind of lost due to the tight corset), not to mention the cool neck that’s covered in rubber but still poses like a dream. But do bear in mind the restrictive nature of her outfit.

However, because it is so tight, and is lying so well, I decided I wasn’t going to try and undress her. I did find out one interesting fact though, by searching over eBay I found Silk’s base body being parted out, and it would seem she is a variant after all. The new feature seems to be a soft fabric section in the mid torso, this is obviously to help cut down on the bulk in this area, and looking at the figures silhouette I’d say it’s done its job well.

Accessories - ***
Silk doesn’t come with a whole heap of stuff, but the extra hands are welcome for some of those more iconic poses, and the extra trench-coat is nicely put together as I described above. She also has the classic black figure stand embellished with the bright yellow movie logo, mirroring her outfit nicely.

I really can’t think of anything much else she could have come with, perhaps her unusual cigarette or even a small copy of the ‘Sensacionales’ Tijuana bible featuring her mothers incarnation of the original Silk Spectre, so I guess what we got represents her pretty well anyway.

Outfit - ***
Did I mention how tight the Silk Spectre II outfit was in the movie? Well it was very, veryvery tight!

But I guess that’s the order of the day when you’re a female super hero. Her particular outfit left almost nothing to the imagination, and had the appearance of actually being sprayed on to her body. But as it was actually fabricated from latex that was formed over a body cast of the actress, then you’ll understand why it looked so snug.

You can read about the making of her actual outfit here where you’ll discover that Syren, the company that developed it, said it was one of the most complex and daunting outfits they had ever worked on… and they were that guys that put Michelle Pfeiffer in the classic Franken-Catwoman  costume for Batman Returns. So, if Syren, a company that had been making ‘specialist’ clothing for quite some time, say they were daunted by the task… how could Hot Toys ever try and copy it at 1/6th scale?

Well Harue Creative took on the task for them, they’ve tried, and they’ve pulled it off as realistically as I think is probably possible at this scale. But where as the actual outfit was made of semi transparent latex, which has to be welted and glued on its seams, they went for a more manageable plastic coated fabric that can be sewn. It can’t however get as ultra skin-tight as latex, and doesn’t have its semi-transparent quality.

Nonetheless this is still a very close fitting wardrobe that Silk is adorned with. It consists of a pair of thigh high stiletto heeled shiny boots that are attached to a corset with suspenders. The corset has a working zip up front and a skimpy gusset that runs right underneath her crotch round to the back which has a working laced up panel in its centre and straps that go over shoulders back to the front. Under this is a secondary body suit that has high cut hot-pant style legs and another working zip running right up the front to its high collar. It also has elbow length sleeves that fit under her long black gauntlets. Her gloved hands fit over the end of the gauntlets, making them look like latex opera gloves. These are in turn attached to the shoulder straps of her corset with tiny working buckles, and to finish it off she has her formed silver belt around her waist.

It’s funny, but after looking this outfit over, you realise that it would be virtually impossible to get dressed into without the help of a friend… but I can’t imagine there are many men that wouldn’t mind helping a lady squeeze into it!

So, to sum up it’s a very striking outfit with its stark jet black and bright canary yellow colour scheme, making her look like a very frisky wasp. But even though this redesigned outfit lacks the ‘silk’ that the original costume had, there’s no denying this is a whole lot more alluring.
As an accessory she also comes with Laurie's dark brown/bronze, mid-thigh length, trench coat. This is a nice cut, it’s fully lined, has two studs to hold it shut, but to aid in it’s aesthetic it has eight tiny real buttons sewn onto the front in a double breasted style, and three even smaller buttons sewn onto each cuff. It also has the traditional open flap over the chest area and working pockets and a working belt, which like traditional trench-coats is very long so it can be worn tied. As I said, a beautifully tailored and put together garment… but the irony is, with Silk looking so hot in her basic outfit, is anyone really going to want to cover it up?

So, to sum up, a fantastically realised outfit that looks great on the figure. Obviously it’s not as skin-tight as the real thing, but you have to consider that the outfit is already restrictive because of its snug fit, so had it been any tighter you may as well have bought a statue, meaning for me, they seem to have hit a pretty good middle ground.

Value - *** 1/2
With a little work you can get Silk for as little as $120 on eBay, but I think $130 is more common and reasonable price to aim for, and at that price I have no problem with ‘almost’ a full score. But at the RRP of $145 I’d put her more in the three stars category.

You can see a lot of R&D has gone into this figure, not least that outfit, and I have a strong feeling this will be a bit of a slow burner, if HT base the numbers they make their figures in, based on pre-orders (and I have a sneaky feeling they do) then there might not be that many of these around. So, if you are a dedicated WATCHMEN fan it might be shrewd to get her now while bargains can still be had, because when/if Night Owl and Rorschach get made she’s gonna get even more desirable than she already is!

Fun Factor - ***1/2
I’ve already gone over the fact that the tight outfit means the poses she can achieve are a little limited, but with a modicum of work you can get her into the classic teaser poster pose, pretty well.

The biggie with this line will be just how many figures they give us from the WATCHMAN line up. So far we have Silk, we know we’re getting the Comedian, and Rorschach has been hinted at in a photo that got leaked of the production studios at Hot Toys. But we really need Night Owl to go with Silk, I mean, it’d be like doing Butch without Sundance, or the ALIENS line without doing Bishop or Newt… oh, yeah… oh well, fingers crossed.

Lets face it Night Owl would be a great figure to get the Hot Toys treatment!

On a side note, you can find some great hi-res WATCHMEN posters and wall papers here if you’re looking for some good reference shots

Overall - *** 1/2
I’m pleased with Silk, she comes in a nicely designed box, she has an amazing sculpt and very well executed ‘real’ hair. The outfit, though not perfect, is beautifully realised and is fabricated very well for the scale, and you can tease some great poses out of her. Really the only thing that might count against her will be whether or not we get the rest of the WATCHMEN crew to display her with, but only time will tell.

But for now, even without her comrades in arms, she makes for a very striking display figure, and even if (Darwin forbid) we only get the Comedian to go with her, at least we can have father and daughter reunited at last!

Where to Buy -
Considering Watchmen is a DC license I was surprised to find Sideshow got to carry these, but they had her available for $144.99 but she’s sold out. You can still try the waitlist or try some of the links below-

Alter Ego Comics - $129.99
Big Bad Toy Store - $144.99 

Or you can hit eBay.

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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